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Bar Business Plan Executive Summary

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Jim McCormickAuthor

A bar business plan does more than help you to transform your bar from a concept into your city’s hottest venue, or your neighborhood’s most beloved dive. 

Outlining your concept and name, your target market and how you’ll reach them, doing the research about permits and licenses in your city and state, planning a menu, preparing a budget, securing funding, and most of the other legwork required are all organized through the process of writing a business plan.

The executive summary is the first section of any bar business plan. As an introduction and summary of your vision for the restaurant, this section includes information about products, consumers, and the team. A basic outline of the business’s path to success and financial plans is also found in the executive summary.

We’ll share bar business plan writing tips that will help you attract attention and build a compelling executive summary.

How to Write a Bar Business Overview

A business overview is an introduction that “hooks” the reader – it should provide just enough description of your bar to get the reader interested in learning more about the business plan. Include an outline of the ownership structure, location, type of restaurant, and customer experience in the business overview.

This section might also introduce key members of your team and a staff training and retention plan. Potential investors will want to see not just that your business plan is exciting but also that it is sustainable.

Finally, paint a detailed picture of the bar’s brand. In addition to written descriptions, use branded graphics, sample color schemes, and photos of the style of decor you imagine. Show readers that you’ve considered all the details and creating a compelling vision for why your bar is poised to succeed.

What Products Will the Bar Serve

The kind of bar you want to start influences a lot of other decisions. Continue the executive summary by outlining the menu and cocktail items that your bar will serve. In this section, work to capture the imagination of potential investors – you’ll have a chance to impress them with your business savvy later in the restaurant summary.

Is your bar targeting an upscale speakeasy style? Or, targeting a most casual sports bar style with broader appeal? The origins and inspirations of your menu are selling points for your brand.

The kind of food and cocktails your bar serves is directly related to the restaurant’s concept. Include information about what makes your concept and menu unique. Investors will want to be sure that your restaurant fills a gap in the market.

Who will be the Bar Target Consumer

Competition in the restaurant industry is fierce, which makes finding a unique niche imperative. Potential investors will want information about how your restaurant stands out in the market.

Build a few customer personas – describe a few potential customers using market data about the demographics, characteristics, and behaviors of diners. Then, describe how your restaurant will cater to those guests, and how this naturally fits into the neighborhood.

It’s cliche but “location, location, location” is the song of good business–even the best business plans will struggle to find footing unless they cater to the locals. Make decisions for your bar based not only on local tastes but also on the local economy. Describe how your menu’s price point is accessible to the target market.

Who are the Key Management Team Members

Bar can’t run without people, and you can’t do it all yourself. Write a concise description of the critical roles in your business’s management structure. Describe how bartenders and servers are integral to your restaurant’s success.

If your business relies on the talents of a specific chef or the skills of a rock-star bar manager, include descriptions of those people (and their qualifications) in this section. If you still need to hire for key roles, describe the hiring and retention strategy for the highly-skilled labor your restaurant needs.

What are the Bar Success Factors

What does success look like for this bar? What contingencies have to go your way? What are the risks of your business model? Having concrete goals and knowing what obstacles stand in the way will impress potential investors.

What are the leading indicators for long term success? How to you plan to launch and market your bar initially, and retain customers to return regularly?

It might seem better to avoid writing about potential pitfalls in your bar business description. But, showing investors that you have a plan to succeed and that you know how to overcome setbacks lets readers know that you’re serious about the business.

What is the Bar Financial Plan

The executive summary of your bar’s business plan should also include an overview of the financial plans. Answer common questions that investors and banks will need, such as how much funding you need to raise, loans and lines of credit you’ll rely on, and how long it will take for the business to become profitable.

Calculate and report on the upfront fixed costs of opening your restaurant. These are the costs that you know you’ll have to keep up with to keep the business afloat, such as equipment, maintenance, and loan repayments.

Then, give investors an idea of the variable costs per month. Things like labor, raw materials, marketing, and promotion costs are likely to change from month to month. Provide a range of the total variable costs per month.

In a later section of the business plan, you’ll provide different reports and financial projections. For the executive summary, focus on the broad strokes of your financial plans. Answer questions like how you plan to raise startup funds and potential profit margins based on projected sales.

Writing your Bar’s Executive Summary

Writing about finances can be a challenge–here’s how you can make the details of your restaurant’s finances an interesting read.

  • Always keep the audience in mind. Use some of the financial vocabulary introduced in this article and write for your potential investors.

  • Find your voice. As the first section, the executive summary is about making an impression. Investors are often just as interested in your business savvy as the strength of your business plan. Infuse your unique vision and voice into your writing style.

  • Keep it simple and clear. It's tempting to throw in lots of clever flourishes when writing, but clarity should be the number 1 priority, especially when discussing financial details.


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